Panda Express: Vegan or Not? - VeggieBoards

Panda Express: Vegan or Not?

James N. Dawson's Avatar James N. Dawson
09:49 PM 04-01-2019
I wrote the following e-mail to Taylor Radig of Vegan Outreach:

I Googled my local Panda Express and was led to this link:

https://www.pandaexpress.com/menu/entrees/eggplant-tofu

As you can see, it says it has nothing vegetarian.

On the very same page that came up on through the Google search, this came up:

https://www.pandaexpress.com/menu

It says it does have vegan options.

So I called a nearby PE to make sure. Someone answered whom it seems English wasn't his first language, and he'd never heard of the word "vegan", nor the changes that had been made. I told him "vegan" was like "vegetarian", but no eggs or dairy. He understood that, but said they don't even have vegetarian because they cook everything on a non-dedicated grill. Maybe that's okay, but I'm unclear if he, or maybe other locations, even know about the announced changes or what veganism is.

How well was this orchestrated? If these places only add vegan options grudgingly, without understanding, or just to get vegans off their back, maybe they shouldn't be so enthusiastically publicized.

Just offering some feedback. I'm a little disappointed. Their tofu eggplant and chow mein, which I haven't had in years, looked inviting, and the locations are very convenient.

Has anyone tried Panda Express since Feb. 27? If so, how was your experience?
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David3's Avatar David3
12:46 PM 04-02-2019
Quote:
Originally Posted by James N. Dawson View Post
I wrote the following e-mail to Taylor Radig of Vegan Outreach:

I Googled my local Panda Express and was led to this link:

https://www.pandaexpress.com/menu/entrees/eggplant-tofu

As you can see, it says it has nothing vegetarian.

On the very same page that came up on through the Google search, this came up:

https://www.pandaexpress.com/menu

It says it does have vegan options.

So I called a nearby PE to make sure. Someone answered whom it seems English wasn't his first language, and he'd never heard of the word "vegan", nor the changes that had been made. I told him "vegan" was like "vegetarian", but no eggs or dairy. He understood that, but said they don't even have vegetarian because they cook everything on a non-dedicated grill. Maybe that's okay, but I'm unclear if he, or maybe other locations, even know about the announced changes or what veganism is.

How well was this orchestrated? If these places only add vegan options grudgingly, without understanding, or just to get vegans off their back, maybe they shouldn't be so enthusiastically publicized.

Just offering some feedback. I'm a little disappointed. Their tofu eggplant and chow mein, which I haven't had in years, looked inviting, and the locations are very convenient.

Has anyone tried Panda Express since Feb. 27? If so, how was your experience?

I stay away from Panda Express. There are so many other Asian restaurants that do have vegan options. The "Loving Hut" Asian/fusion vegan restaurant has locations all over the world. The Veggie Grill is another large vegan restaurant chain.
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James N. Dawson's Avatar James N. Dawson
02:01 PM 04-02-2019
I have stayed away from it, having read it didn't have anything vegan. But lots of vegan/vegetarian organizations launched a major e-mail writing and petition signing campaign, and announced they'd agreed to serve a few vegan options. It's hyped all over the Net:



https://www.peta.org/living/food/panda-express-vegan/


They're much cheaper than most other vegan restaurants with vegan options, open daily with longer hours. And there's one very close to my home.
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Tom's Avatar Tom
12:26 PM 04-27-2019
I had to look, and you're right: it does say specifically that they have nothing vegetarian. It also says in that same paragraph that "Panda uses ingredients that contain all the major FDA allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, milk, soy and wheat."

I don't remember eating at Panda Express, although I love Chinese food... but now I'm wondering how many times I've had Chow Mein that wasn't vegetarian?...
James N. Dawson's Avatar James N. Dawson
10:44 AM 05-02-2019
Chow mein noodles are usually made with eggs, which is why I haven't had it in so long. I always used to love it. Eggless Yakisoba noodles can make a good chow mein so it wouldn't be hard to offer one with these.
The issue with the allergens is "dedicated cookware". Sometimes these places cook their food in pans and on grills they just cooked meat on. This happens at most places that offer vegan options. Personally, I think this is ethically negliglable. If you expect a restaurant to cook vegan options on "dedicated" cookware, you may as well give up on eating out. Of course you can aske that they clean the cookware for you, but personally, I feel this reinforces the stereotype of the fussy vegan, and puts a burden on fast food workers already stressed out from a hectic job. The bad PR adversely affects animals more than the tiny traces of animal ingredients that might "contaminate" an otherwise vegan option. Of course, everybody's got to make their own ethical decision about this.
My main problem is with Vegan Outreach, PETA, etc. who're kind of misinforming people about their "victory" in Panda Express offering vegan options, and maybe other fast food places as well.
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